A Winfield former realtor who pleaded no contest in March to three counts of theft by deception was sentenced to 24 months probation on Thursday.
Prosecutor Ian Otte and Chad Giles, Gwen Lumbert’s attorney, both recommended probation. The plea agreement also requires Lumbert to pay a total of $168,221.54 in restitution to all the victims and surrender her real estate license. Her license expired in October 2019 and has not been renewed.
Lumbert also has un underlying prison sentence of 26 months should she not comply with the terms of her probation, Cowley County District Court Judge Chris Smith said during the sentencing, which was held on Zoom and streamed on YouTube.
Speaking via phone at the hearing, Lumbert said she is “so sorry and so embarrassed” and wants to pay everyone back and get a job.
Three of Lumbert’s victims also called into the hearing to make statements.
Cathy Hamlin said Lumbert took advantage of kind people she knew and defrauded them by claiming her daughter was in the hospital with cancer. Hamlin said her own daughter had cancer, something Lumbert knew and took advantage of.
Keith Veenendell said Lumbert had earlier won his loyalty and respect, and came across as sweet and charming. He said he would like to see her serve jail time and repay the victims. “She needs to acknowledge that she scammed people and she needs to pay them back,” he said.
Larry Shelton said he also thinks Lumbert should serve jail time, and that being defrauded has put him in a financial bind. He said Lumbert came back to him a second time requesting money, but he didn’t give her any more.
Lumbert’s probation terms prohibit her from soliciting loans, grants or other financial aid unless it’s from a business or family members, disposing of property without notifying her court service officer, and acting as a fiduciary.
Lumbert was charged with initially charged with 11 counts of theft by deception in March 2019 after failing to repay people she owed money to, but later pleaded no contest to three of the charges, with the remaining eight dropped, as part of the plea agreement.
The three remaining charges allege that Lumbert took cash payments meant for Betty Daniels, Keith A. Veenendell, and Steve and Cathy Hamlin by making false statements. The amount of cash taken in each charge is between $25,000 and $100,000, according to court records.
Lumbert was formerly a longtime real estate agent in the Winfield area. According to information on Realtor.com, she was a full-time realtor with Prudential Albright Reality for 18 years, and had been the leading producer in sales in the Winfield area since 1998. She was also formerly employed with Herrman Realty in Winfield.
In addition to the criminal charges, nine plaintiffs also filed civil suits against Lumbert in an effort to get money back. These suits have all been settled, with Lumbert agreeing to repay the plaintiffs the original amounts owed, plus court fees and interest.